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Perrenial crops get serious consideration

The idea of replacing annual food crops with perennials has long been on the fringe of agricultural research, largely confined to a private facility in Kansas called the Land Institute.

From USA Today:

The time could come when farmers aren't getting on their tractors every spring to plant their crops, or even plowing their fields, exposing those fields to erosion.

At least that's the vision of a few scientists -- and a senior Obama administration official -- who want to develop perennial versions of corn, wheat, rice and other crops that don't need to be planted every year and wouldn't cause the environmental damage linked to growing conventional grains.

"Getting to the yields of today's corn in central Iowa with a perennial corn will not happen quickly, but I do think it is possible," said Ed Buckler, an Agriculture Department scientist at Cornell University in New York. "With prior technology, it would have taken 100-plus years. Now, I think we can do it in 20 years with a concerted effort."

The idea of replacing annual food crops with perennials has long been on the fringe of agricultural research, largely confined to a private facility in Kansas called the Land Institute.

For more, see: Scientists work on perennial crops to cut damage to land

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